Posts Tagged ‘arizona class action’

Phoenix Attorney Shawn Aiken sent me an advance copy of a draft class action bill set to be introduced in the Arizona legislature this week.  The bill sets forth some specific requirements for class certification that are much more exacting than those required under federal Rule 23 and most state class action rules.  Some of the highlights are summarized below.  Click this link for a complete copy of the bill.

  • clear and convincing evidence would be required to justify a grant of class certification
  • orders granting class certification would have to be supported by a detailed written statement of the reasons and evidence justifying the decision
  • in assessing superiority, the court would be required to consider, among other things, “whether it is probable that the amount which may be recovered by individual class members will be large enough in relation to the expense and effort of administering the action to justify maintaining the case as a class action”
  • there would be a rebuttable presumption against class certification in cases involving claims where individual knowledge, causation, and  reliance are required elements
  • certification of a case as a class action would not relieve any class member of the requirement of proving individual injury or damages
  • class notice must include a statement of “the possible financial consequences for the class”
  • the law would expressly provide that the plaintiff would bear the initial cost of distributing notice to the class
  • appeals from orders granting or denying class certification could be taken as a matter of right the same as a final judgment, and trial court proceedings would be automatically stayed pending the appeal

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As reported by Yuma, AZ CBS affiliate KSWT TV, the Arizona Supreme Court issued an opinion today holding that denials of class certification are not subject to interlocutory appeal under the state’s regular appeals procedure.   A slip copy of the decision is available at the court’s website: Garza v. Swift Transportation Co., No. CV-08-0382-PR (Ariz., August 24, 2009).  It is important to note that the court recognized that interlocutory appeals of class certification decisions may still be allowed in “extraordinary” cases under the state’s “special action jurisdiction” rules.

In reaching the decision, the court overruled its own prior decision and instead relied on federal jurisprudence prior to the addition of FRCP 23(f) in 1998, which now expressly permits discretionary interlocutory appeals in the federal courts.  In addition to illustrating how state court rules on interlocutory appeal of class certification decisions may differ from the federal courts, the case reflects how state court rules may lag behind the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and how the state courts may apply outdated federal precedent in interpreting their own rules.

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